Korean dramas are winning hearts the world over, and it’s not just for their meme-worthy tropes (back hugs!), easy-to-love storylines and easier-on-the-eyes stars. K-dramas provide an insight into the hottest trends coming out of Korea, whether it’s fashion, food, or jjimjil-bang (bathhouse) etiquette, and Korean beauty is no exception. Indeed, if Korean dramas are any indication, skincare is very, very important in the life of a K-drama star. So put on a sheet mask and get ready to read about skincare trends inspired by some of our favorite Korean dramas.
Cushion like Song Hye Kyo & Jeon Ji Hyun
Sure, it may have been Jeon Ji Hyun’s lipstick shade in 2014’s My Love From Another Star that turned the world into crazed shopaholics (the rumored YSL shade sold out worldwide, though show reps claimed the lipstick was by Korean brand Iope), but it’s the cushion compact she’s seen applying that’s proven to have legs. Two years later, Song Hye Kyo dabbed on a cushion compact before a date with the dreamy Captain Yoo Shi-Jin in the worldwide hit drama Descendants of the Sun.
And it doesn’t look like the cushion compact is going away anytime soon. More and more beauty companies are coming out with their own versions (Hera offers two versions of their UV Mist Cushion SPF 50 PA+++), and it’s arguably the most perfect foundation product out there. Not only does a cushion compact give you flawless, buildable finish, it feels super lightweight and protects with broad-spectrum UV coverage. It’s the easiest way to get that no-makeup makeup look, which is, of course, mandatory for any K-drama star.
Lymphatic massage like in She Was Pretty
Her older sister may have let herself go in She Was Pretty, but Jung Da-bin refuses to let time take its toll. She may only be in high school, but her lymphatic drainage game is strong — almost every time we see her at home, she’s using some sort of face roller to rid herself of excess fluids, prevent puffiness, and achieve that coveted V-line shape. Asian brands offer all sorts of fancy face rollers, from ones made with jade or titanium to the triple facial massager seen above. (Even Sephora now offers one from Korean brand Dr. Jart+.)
Lymphatic drainage is what Korean women are going for when they strategically press their faces as they apply a hydrating toner or give themselves a quick facial massage with a serum. Alternately using the palms, balls of your fingertips, and knuckles, firmly press and roll along acupressure points by the temples, up the cheekbones, around the eyes, and down the periphery of your face to help drain the excess fluids that can build up. This will help fight bloating of the face, which is a side effect of all that soju your typical K-drama star will drink after being dumped by the guy (or slapped by the potential mother-in-law or humiliated by the beautiful rival).
Rubber mask like in High Society
What the dermatologist is to American skin obsessives, the facialist is to their Korean counterparts. For Korean women, a facial is an extension of their skincare routine, a part of daily life much like going to the gym or getting groceries. And we’re not talking your typical, fall-asleep-it’s-so-soothing American facial either. There’s a reason Koreans call their facials “massage” — the face is kneaded, rolled, contoured, sometimes even lightly slapped (for circulation, of course) for a good half hour, and this extends to the neck, décolletage, even down to the arms and hands — before a mask is ever put on.
Of course, with far more sophisticated at-home skincare routines, Korean women are no longer satisfied with a basic mask during their facials. Thick creams are being upgraded to rubber masks, which go on thick and then solidify into a rubbery texture, which keeps everything inside the mask hydrated for better absorption. Rubber masks can even go over the lips and eyes — a scary thought, I know — but, surprisingly, the mask solidifies before it has a chance to drip. (And what a treat to be able to mask the oft-neglected eye and lip areas!)
Elevate your own masking experience like you’re a chaebol heiress with Lindsay Modeling Masks. They may seem intimidating at first, but they aren’t difficult to use, once you get the hang of it. I actually find that I only need about half the powder for my entire face, so I save the other half for my next masking session. And rubber masking really does give you a result you can’t get from a typical sheet mask — try boosting the effects by adding a few drops of an ampoule into the mixture.
Have a mask therapy session like in The Time We Were Not In Love
Of course, masking is not just limited to your weekly trip to the facialist. Koreans spend plenty of time at home with some sort of mask on, and in K-dramas, like The Time We Were Not In Love, masking is an ideal opportunity for heart-to-hearts (not to mention to move the plotline along — after all, you can only meet in so many cafes).
Why not take a cue from K-dramas, and call a friend or two over for a mask party-slash-therapy session? There’s something about being stripped of all makeup and lounging around in a wouldn’t-be-caught-dead-outside state that is conducive to opening up about relationship problems or workplace woes (after all, you’ve got a captive audience).
Jelly Pack like Ha Jiwon
Of course, what better way to emulate an ultimate K-drama star than to use a skincare product that the star not only uses but created herself? Ha Jiwon is perhaps best known for her historical dramas, including Empress Ki and Damo, as well as the romantic comedy hit Secret Garden, but her J.One Jelly Pack is making her a household name among K-beauty-philes as well.
A Glow Recipe bestseller, the Jelly Pack is a true multi-tasker that not only delivers, it’s groundbreaking. The texture is unlike anything else — a stiff gel that liquefies as you smooth it onto your face. As you pat it in, the gel starts to “grip,” and you can practically feel your face firming up as it absorbs. Whatever you apply afterwards — moisturizer, sunscreen or foundation — you’ll feel the Jelly Pack working, gripping onto every drop for an impossibly smooth application. Your skin instantly looks taeng taeng, lifted and simply juicy all day long, like you had a really good lymphatic massage finished off with a nourishing rubber mask, and eight hours of deep, undisturbed sleep.
In other words, you’ll look like a K-drama star.
Get your glow on,
Anna M. Park is the editor of beauty and travel blog Styleunderpressure.com.